By MARY BETH DENOMY
Earlier this month, my biggest concerns were getting to happy hours on time and who baked the best key lime pie in the Florida Keys. Last week: how not to lose my mind while quarantined at home.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on a Sunday, one week before the March Break rush. We bombed down the coast to the Keys, top down in our 2020 Jeep Gladiator rental. Lots of hot sun as the days melted into one another.
However, it was getting hard to ignore the slowly-breaking COVID-19 reports.
After waiting on hold with West Jet for two hours, we jumped on an early flight home via an eerily empty airport and an uncomfortably crowded customs line-up in Toronto.
Before Florida, I had never heard terms like “flattening the curve” or “social-distancing”. It’s a new day. Two weeks. At home. I am an active person with a busy job at a marketing company. I play squash regularly, exercise and am on several Board of Directors, including the Beach Metro News and the Balmy Beach Club. Staying home seemed like a small sacrifice for the greater good. How hard could it be?
Luckily, I had food in my fridge (and a healthy supply of toilet paper). My good friend Jen went to the ValuMart for me and picked up some fresh fruits so I could avoid getting scurvy.
My office closed over night and everyone was ordered to work from home. New challenges: Am I set up for virtual meetings? What the heck is Zoom? Where is the camera on my laptop? Do I want my colleagues to see my pink pajamas and dusty shelves?
Despite the 24/7 mix of boredom and doom and gloom, there have been some surprising silver linings.
I text a lot less and call a lot more. My phone rings regularly with family, friends and colleagues who want to talk, and no one has to rush off!
Friends I speak with sporadically have generously reached out and offered to grab groceries. St. Paddy’s Day was saved with a fun virtual office party pub, complete with green costumes and group games.
I’ve dusted off my yoga mat. Still working on social-distancing from the refrigerator door…
I vowed to put this rare moment in time to good use so I wrote a “to-do” list: Re-read a classic book. Clean up my basement. Take a free online course at the Khan Academy. Try streaming a Zumba exercise class (no one can see how bad I am – yay!). Map out my summer garden plans. Finally watch The Wire.
At this moment, there is no end in sight to these unprecedented times. I am still symptom-free, social-distancing and doing my part to flatten the curve.
Now, if I can just find that list…